Why Not Pay Higher Taxes?
5) Less Efficiency?
Conservatives believe that they can spend their own earned money more efficiently than can unneeded (note that I say “unneeded,” because in every budget crisis, government threatens layoffs in fire and police first to scare the public into maintaining all sorts of social service agencies) state departments, whose employees are not subject to market forces and view yearly funded budgets as sacrosanct rather than predicated on a good peach crop, a fickle oil well, or uncertain demand for a vacuum cleaner. Millions of conniving minds figuring out the best way to save money and maximize profit have an efficiency that a monolithic centrally planning government octopus simply does not. Bigger government and higher taxes, whether in Greece or California, are not a prescription for economic growth that can best get us out of this deficit cycle.
6) Inequality by Income?
Not all conservatives believe “inequality” is definable by income alone. Does the chiropractor who makes $150,000 and sends his kid to Santa Clara University ($50,000 per year) on his own dime do all that much better than the DMV supervisor who makes $60,000 and has his child eligible for state and federal college grants? To the conservative, most (not all, to be sure) subsidies and breaks for college, housing, medical care, occasion debt relief, etc., are income adjusted and go to the lower and lower-middle classes. The subsidized housing tract 2 miles away from my farm has houses (ca. 1800 sq. feet) that are as nice or nicer than those in the old section of Palo Alto where I have 600 sq. ft. studio apartment. I imagine that the Selma counterparts also have an array of subsidies not extended to the upper-middle classes in Silicon Valley who are paying $1 million for an older and much smaller home. Income is not the only benchmark of poverty or wealth.
Conservatives are also tired of being demonized. One “pay your fair share” is OK; dozens of “millionaires and billionaires” and other class warfare rhetoric become tiring. Psychologically, the top-bracket earner is now resigned to something like this: “The more I pay the more 'they' hate me, so why pay any more if the slurs will be the same either way?" Does anyone believe that should Obama get his new tax hikes, he will cease the class-warfare demagoguing as in, “Thanks to that noble 5% we finally balanced the budget”? (As opposed to, “Now that we have that problem of income tax hikes temporarily out of the way, we can go after….”)
8) Sic Transit Gloria
Income is not static. Most go in and out of top brackets, especially in non-salaried business. Many of the top earners tat I know are not salaried and were not making what they are now at 40 and won’t be at 65. They view their 50s as a brief window to store enough nuts for winter — a fleeting period in their lives when they are mature, experienced, still hale, and finally figured out how to make some cash for the less rosy future when they will be not so healthy or fortunate.
9) The Private HHS Department
Tax-resistant Americans also find ways to redistribute their money without government help. I know dozens who give far more to charities than do far wealthier liberals. I think statistics will back that up. Somehow paying the mortgage for a daughter, picking up the funeral bill for a cousin, loaning a brother-in-law cash for his business — all that never computes into wealth and poverty statistics, despite the fact that in every family there are “cash cows” whom everyone seems to approach for help (and they rarely go away refused). Is there a government form that asks of the middle class, “How much help, direct or indirect, have you obtained from a relative — parent, sibling, cousin, child — this year?”
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